Anne Robinson


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BORN: 26 September, 1944(Age 64)

Anne Josephine Robinson (born 26 September 1944) is an English television presenter and former journalist, known for her assertive views and style of presenting. She was one of the presenters on the long-running British consumer affairs series, Watchdog, from 1993 to 2001 but has since gained notoriety as the hostess of the BBC television game show The Weakest Link which has earned her the nickname "Queen of Mean". Anne Robinson has also presented the game show in the United States.{|summary="Contents" class="toc" id="toc" | |} [http:// ]

Born in Crosby, Lancashire, Anne Robinson is of Irish descent. Her father was a school teacher, while her mother Anne Josephine Robinson (nee Wilson), was a successful agricultural businesswoman from Ireland, where she was the manager of a market stall. When she came to England she married into her husband's family of wholesale chicken dealers, and sold rationed rabbit after World War II. Raised initially at the family home in Crosby Beach, Anne attended a private Roman Catholic Convent Boarding School in Hampshire, Farnborough Hill School but was expelled when she was caught, in the middle of the night, sewing stitches into a very old, unfinished tapestry, in which it was said that, on one night a year, the ghost of the Empress Eugenie who had started, but never finished the tapestry, sewed a few stitches into it. Robinson was hired as a chicken gutter and sales person during the holidays in the family business, before taking office jobs at a clerical post at a law firm. The family spent their summers on holiday in France, often at the Carlton Hotel, Cannes.

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On leaving school, Robinson chose journalism over training for the theatre. After working in a news agency, she arrived in London in 1967 as the first young female trainee on the Daily Mail. Robinson's mother's going away present to her daughter was an MG sportscar and a fur coat. Robinson secured a permanent position as a result of scooping the details of the story of Brian Epstein's death from being a family friend of the Liverpool solicitor handling the legalities, offering him a ride to Euston station when he couldn't find an available taxi.

Her work became uncomfortable for her when she met and fell in love with the deputy news editor, Charlie Wilson, and the two got married in 1968 - he subsequently had to fire her as a result of the marriage. Robinson joined The Sunday Times, and in 1970 the couple had a daughter, Emma Wilson, who is now a British radio disc jockey and has also hosted Scaredy Camp, a game show in the U.S. on the Nickelodeon network. In 1973, the marriage disintegrated after Robinson, like her mother, became an alcoholic. That same year, both Robinson and Wilson initiated divorce proceedings.

In December 1978, she resigned from The Sunday Times and returned home to Crosby Beach to recover from her alcoholism. She then began working for the Liverpool Echo.


First female editor Edit

Robinson returned to Fleet Street in 1980, working as columnist and Assistant Editor of the Daily Mirror from the week that the Falklands War started. She also wrote a column under the pseudonym of the "Wednesday Witch," in which she developed her vitriolic style.

During her career as a newspaper journalist, she developed a flair for writing tabloid headlines. On 14 November 1982 Robinson attended a formal dinner attended by HM Queen Elizabeth II, at which she noted that Diana, Princess of Wales arrived late. Robinson asked the Mirror's Royal Editor James Whitaker to investigate, and after conversations with various sources including Diana's sister Lady Sarah McCorquodale, confirmed Diana was suffering from an eating disorder, named as anorexia in a scoop article on 19 November. As a result, Buckingham Palace Press Secretary, Michael Shea, rang then Mirror editor Mike Molloy to remove Robinson. Robinson was subsequently removed from the editorial rota, and was advised by Malloy to "do more television blossom, that's what you're good at." Robinson some years later was told why she was removed, and it was subsequently confirmed some years later that Diana suffered from bulimia.

Robinson has subsequently written a weekly column for a succession of other British newspapers, such as Today, The Sun, The Express, The Times; and currently The Daily Telegraph.



Robinson began appearing on BBC television in 1982, initially as an occasional panellist on Question Time. From 1986 she began sitting in for regular presenter Barry Took on television viewers show Points of View, taking over permanently in 1988 for 11 years. In 1993, she took over the presentation and writing of consumer affairs television programme Watchdog. She also presented a weekly show on BBC Radio 2 on Saturday mornings, which ran from 1988 to 1993. She returned to the station briefly in 1996, sitting in for Jimmy Young on the Lunchtime slot for two weeks.

Robinson is best known in the UK for hosting the British version of The Weakest Link. Similarly, in the United States she is best known for hosting the NBC primetime version of Weakest Link, which has since ceased production. As a host, Robinson can appear very serious with a somewhat monotonous voice. In fact, it is one of her trademarks to avoid smiling, no matter how funny or friendly moments become on the game show. Comedian Rob Schneider, however, managed to make her smile after referring to her as the "sexy link" while a contestant on the show. She has an icy, mysterious appearance and persona. Her usage of insults and caustic remarks as well as personal questions delivered to contestants, has become infamous on The Weakest Link. Her repeated blunt utterance, "You are the weakest link — goodbye!" became a catchphrase soon after the show started in 2000. Her Weakest Link persona has been likened to that of Judge Judy. Though comparable to Simon Cowell of the UK's Pop Idol and American Idol in the US, Robinson is disliked by Cowell, who commented in an interview "I hate her and I hate her show because it's just an act." (In fact, Cowell participated in a celebrity edition of the UK version of rival quiz show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, hosted by Chris Tarrant) Asked by the Duke of Edinburgh to present some Duke of Edinburgh's Awards, she agreed subject to him taking part in the Weakest Link - the Duke declined. In 2005, she made an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show, admitting she was an unfit mother.

Robinson also hosted an episode of Have I Got News For You in 2002 where she was baited slightly by Ian Hislop because of her admiration for Robert Maxwell. The programme also showed a clip from a 1995 episode where Paul Merton made fun of her wink.

Currently, she also hosts the BBC's Outtakes programme Out-take TV, a satirical news-based chat show on BBC One called What's the Problem? With Anne Robinson, and the BBC's interactive quiz, Test the Nation. In 2006, Robinson was ranked number 46 in the ITV poll of TV's 50 Greatest Stars. She was also voted the second most terrifying celebrity on television in a 2006 Radio Times poll of 3,000 people.

Robinson appeared on Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car, the segment of the motoring programme Top Gear on BBC Two, going around the Top Gear track in 1minute 57s. In 2005, Robinson voiced a robot version of herself in Doctor Who in the episode "Bad Wolf" — Anne Droid was a gynoid presenting a deadly future version of The Weakest Link, where the losing contestants were killed. She appeared in the My Family episode "Susan of Troy" as a special guest in April 2007. In January 2009, she appeared as the 'guest host' on The Sunday Night Project.

Robinson was spoofed on the television comedy impressions show Dead Ringers.



Robinson caused a stir when she appeared on the comedy show Room 101 on 5 March 2001. It was started by Robinson who made derisive comments about Welsh people. Comments such as "What are they for?" and 'I never did like them' and even suggesting that Prince Philip also disliked the Welsh. The people she was thinking about were supposedly based on people who spoke Welsh around the market stall operated by her mother during her childhood. This caused an outcry and accusations of racism. After four senior officers from North Wales Police spent 96 hours investigating the issue, she apologized for the comments and agreed to do promotional work for the Wales Tourist Board to encourage people to visit the country.

In the same show she put comedian Ben Elton into Room 101 in protest at his hosting the Royal Variety Performance. She argued that he should be sent to the room "for being a total and utter hypocrite and going back on everything he stood for in the 80s and 90s". In April 2002 Anne Robinson was then placed into the Room 101 bin by Jessica Stevenson who said she couldn't stand Robinson's bare-faced cheek for insulting people on her show and that she should take a good look in the mirror as she's "not exactly an oil painting herself", although defenders of the show have stated that what Robinson portrays there is just an "act".

The BBC received 16 complaints after Robinson asked a contestant on the charity version of The Weakest Link to feel her breasts, after he described her as a "full-bodied, expensive red". The programme was broadcast Saturday 5 April on BBC One.

Anne Robinson also caused controversy on The Weakest Link when she made Blue Peter legend John Noakes cry after asking "Where's Shep? What happened to Shep? Did he die or just run away?" Shep was Noakes' beloved pet on and off Blue Peter.


Personal life Edit

An admitted alcoholic, she stopped drinking on 12 December 1978 after picking her daughter up from school and driving to a petrol station to buy a bottle of vodka.

Robinson married journalist John Penrose in 1980, and the couple lived between houses in Kensington and the Gloucestershire Cotswolds, where they have a garden by Rosemary Verey. On 30 September 2007 the couple announced that they were planning to divorce, citing "irreconcilable differences".

In 1996, Robinson was made an Honorary Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University.

In 2001, she published her autobiography, Memoirs of an Unfit Mother, in which she describes her former drinking problem.

On 23 April 2006, the Sunday Times Rich List named Robinson as one of the UK's richest media personalities, worth £60 million. She also appeared in the 2004 and 2005 rich list.

On 9 July 2008, Robinson was banned from driving for six months, for speeding, following a hearing at Portsmouth Magistrates' Court. It was Robinson's fourth speeding offence. She was also fined £100 with £50 costs.==